Top 10 returning players at Boise State headlined by Hank Bachmeier and JL Skinner

    The top 10 returning players at Boise State are headlined by their fourth-year signal-caller Hank Bachmeier, fresh off a 3,000-yard season.

    The Boise State Broncos were a game away from the Mountain West Conference Championship Game a season ago. But with their returning players in 2022,  the Broncos should have their sights set on not only an appearance but a win in the MWC championship. This is as talented a team as we’ve seen in many facets. Headlined by their signal-caller Hank Bachmeier, there is a lot to like about Boise State in 2022.

    For each Mountain West team’s top returning players: Air Force | Boise State | Colorado State | Fresno State | Hawaii | Nevada | New Mexico | San Diego State | San Jose State | UNLV | Utah State | Wyoming

    Top 10 returning players at Boise State

    As the countdown to the regular season continues, as does our top 10 returning players series. We’re counting down all the top 10 players returning to action on every team — we’ll deal with transfers later — from Air Force to Wyoming, from Miami to Hawaii, and all in between. Here are the top returning players to Boise State in 2022.

    10) Scott Matlock, DT

    Anchoring the middle of the defensive line, Scott Matlock returns for his fifth season in Boise. Matlock, a massive 6’4″, 300 pounds, finished with a team-high seven sacks a season ago. He clogs the middle on passing downs and fights to the ball very well against the run. Matlock wows with his tenacity and consistently wins his one-on-one matchups against offensive lineman. Oh, and he can score touchdowns in the receiving game as well.

    9) Stefan Cobbs, WR

    Stefan Cobbs managed to obtain second-team Mountain West honors despite being limited last season. As his role is set to expand with the departure of Khalil Shakir, Cobbs has the ability to take that next step in 2022. He brought in 34 receptions for 421 yards and five touchdowns a season ago, despite Shakir being the clear No. 1. Now, entrenched as the primary target, Cobbs is in line to utilize his speed and after-the-catch ability in a big way in 2022.

    8) Kaonohi Kaniho, CB

    An incredibly versatile athlete, Kaonohi Kaniho utilizes his skill set very well in every facet. He recorded two interceptions a season ago to go along with five pass breakups. Kaniho has the task of sticking with a variety of pass catchers, from tight ends to running backs, as well as shifty slot targets, so his speed and change of direction pay dividends. He also presents great size for a man with his athleticism in the nickel role.

    7) George Holani, RB

    It wasn’t too long ago that George Holani was a 1,000-yard rusher. In fact, with a clean bill of health, Holani could absolutely return to that level in 2022 as he showcased in 2021 that he was able to take over games. He eclipsed the 100-yard mark in three of his final four contests despite sharing the backfield with Cyrus Habibi-Likio. Holani is a bowling ball with great vision and presents a challenge to bring down in the open field.

    6) Tyric LeBeauf, CB

    Prior to an injury a season ago, Tyric LeBeauf was what opposing quarterbacks had nightmares of during the week. LeBeauf recorded three interceptions over his first five starts, including two against Dillon Gabriel and UCF to open the season. Returning to the field healthy in 2022, LeBeauf brings terrific ball skills, even better size, and a football IQ that rivals any in the Mountain West.

    5) Caleb Biggers, CB

    All Caleb Biggers did in his first season with the Broncos was dominate. He held receivers to zero catches at times, broke up five passes, and forced twice as many incompletions with his sticky coverage. Biggers proved he was more than capable against a tick up in quarterback competition after dominating for three seasons at Bowling Green. Against some of the conference’s best quarterbacks (notably Jake Haener and Carson Strong), Biggers didn’t allow a touchdown in his coverage. Don’t let the “lack” of interceptions fool you; Biggers is a lockdown cornerback.

    4) Ezekiel Noa, LB

    Flying to the football this fall for the Broncos will be Ezekial Noa yet again. The sixth-year star has recorded 26 starts over the past four seasons, including starting in all 12 games last year. He finished third on the team in total tackles but contributed far more than what any box score could indicate. Noa consistently causes pressure when he blitzes and cuts off underneath routes with his prowess in coverage. He’s a sure tackler and has an edge about his game that shows up on Saturdays.

    3) Tyreque Jones, S

    Sixth-year safety Tyreque Jones returns for another season in Boise after a dominant year in 2021. Jones has tremendous size but moves around like a much smaller man. He dominates at the catch point when tasked in coverage, but the best aspect of his game is his ability to roam around the short area of the field and keep plays in front of him. Jones locks on to the ball, is hardly fooled, and makes tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage more often than not.

    2) JL Skinner, S

    Boise State’s leader in tackles a season ago, JL Skinner is back to once again set the tone for this talented defense. Skinner presents a mismatch for offenses to contend with in every facet. Whether in coverage where he flies to the ball or in the run game where he consistently shuts off rushing lanes like a linebacker, Skinner is always around the football. His size is tough to handle as he stands tall over running backs with a considerable advantage in strength. He rarely gets backed out of plays and has a knack for finding the football.

    1) Hank Bachmeier, QB

    If the college football world didn’t know Hank Bachmeier prior to the 2021 season, he certainly put the nation on notice with his performance. Bachmeier threw for 3,080 yards and 20 touchdowns, touching every level of the field with accuracy and strength. As good as Bachmeier is on the box score, those numbers pale compared to what he means to this team as a leader and a constant force in the face of pressure.

    Despite lackluster play from his line over the past two seasons, Bachmeier has stood tall, looked pressure in the face, and consistently lifted his team with his play. His grit and durability paid dividends in 2021 and should lead to great success this season.

    Honorable mention players returning to Boise State in 2022

    • Seyi Oladipo, S
    • Demitri Washington, EDGE
    • John Ojukwu, OT
    • Brandon Hawkins, LB
    • Jackson Cravens, DT
    • Isaiah Bagnah, EDGE

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